Tuesday April 26th asteroid 3 Juno will be at opposition, that is, it will be 180o from the Sun with the Earth between the two. At opposition, any Sun orbiting object beyond Earth rises at about local time for sunset and sets at local time for sunrise. At about 9th-10th magnitude the asteroid will be too faint to be seen with binoculars or the naked eye. There is, however, a much brighter asteroid shining at a about 5th magnitude, and a few degrees south from Jupiter. This is asteroid Hygiea, the 4th largest asteroid.
Asteroid 3 Juno was the third asteroid discovered, hence its numerical prefaced name. It was discovered by German astronomer Karl L. Harding in 1804, and it is the 11th largest asteroid.
Follow asteroid 3 Juno using the Heavens Above web site.
NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter is very near the end of its 5 year journey across the solar system. Launched in August of 2011 the solar powered spacecraft is expected to arrive at Jupiter on July 4th of this year. The Juno mission will place the spacecraft into a polar orbit that will consist of 30 orbits around the planet with each orbit lasting 11 days while Jupiter rotates below every 10 hours. After arrival the mission has a planned length of one year ending in October 2017 with the spacecraft de-orbiting and falling into the planet’s atmosphere.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.